Exactly a year ago, I wrote expressing to you all concern over the increasing uncertainty of what the days ahead would bring. At that time, reports from parts of Asia and Europe led to an increase in anxiety and fear creating an ominous cloud overshadowing everyone everywhere. It was in that third week of Lent 2020 that the reality of life being radically altered really sank in. Over the past 12 months, life has changed to a new normal that we first thought would last only a few weeks or months but is still with us in varying degrees. We adapted to isolation, social distancing, wearing masks, testing, quarantine, working from home, virtual meetings, and livestream worship, making the best of a terribly difficult situation as we found ways to cope. It has been difficult with many lives lost to COVID-19 over these months leaving millions of families and friends grieving. We wonder how long this will last, and though the human spirit is resilient, we wonder if we can we endure much more and how the struggles and stress will be seen in lives post-pandemic. All the unresolved grief, frustration, bewilderment, lost dreams and eroded hope will affect us all whether in our personal lives or in systemic social ills that affect communities. On this milestone, it is important to acknowledge and give thanks for those in healthcare who work so hard and risk so much in caring for those with COVID, the scientists who worked feverously to come up with a vaccine and continue to do so, the essential workers providing the necessary goods and services for our safety and daily necessities, and the untold number of nameless individuals who care for friends and neighbors who are most vulnerable. The list could go on regarding those that touch us when we see the genuine love in caring for others. I believe that the prayers offered for others and for ourselves have seen us through thus far, and provide all the more reason to pray daily, especially in this period of preparation of Lent. I want to invite you to a virtual event of prayer that will take place March 15 at 7:00 p.m. It is a memorial service organized by the Southside Faith Communities in which I will participate along with a number of other local clergy.